Lead and hydrocarbon contamination has been discovered near the Sebastopol Gun Club.
Ballarat City Council has received preliminary Environment Protection Authority advice that soil testing on a nearby public open space returned results above health limits for recreational levels.
Land affected includes part of the Yarrowee Trail between the gun club and the Yarrowee River.
However, soil tested from nearby sporting facilities and ovals, including Marty Busch Reserve where the gun club is located, were clear of lead and hydrocarbons.
EPA specialist operational services group manager Richard Marks said the primary concern was limiting public exposure to the potential contamination from lead shot and PAHs (a chemical within clay targets).
The investigation follows the EPA undertaking a risk assessment of about 150 shooting ranges across Victoria.
The council said it was working with the EPA, Department of Health and Human Services and the shooting range’s management to achieve the best environmental and public health outcomes.
Both the council and the EPA said limiting public access to the area would be the first priority.
Detailed investigations will begin soon to understand the contamination’s extent and its long-term management.
Access along the bike path will be restricted in the interim, and signs installed advising the public to avoid the area while the investigation continues.
The affected trail section will be resurfaced at a later date to re-establish public access.
Anyone with concerns about lead exposure and their health are encouraged to discuss it with their doctor.
Lead is a naturally occurring metal which can be a hazard when taken into the body by swallowing or breathing in lead fumes and dust.
For more information about lead exposure, visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au
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